Happy Fish, Debate.

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puffer boi

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i have no idea why people argue that there fish is so happy. i mean i get that your fish is swimming around maybe schooling. i really want to know how you know that your fish is happy and please tell me.
 

JamieXPXP

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for me i know my fish are happy by how they act and how dull their colours are. when they arent happy they will hide, wont be very active and sometimes lose some of their colours or the colours will become dull
 

Lorekeeper

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There are a few things.

I don't really think that fish feel happy like me and you. I think that they can be either satisfied and healthy, or unsatisfied and unhealthy. Which comes down to this:

1) Behaviour. Is the fish acting normally? For example, a tetra hiding in the back corner of the tank isn't a good sign. The same goes for most outgoing fish, like livebearers. But, it's normal for some shy fish like young bichirs and some loaches. You need to know how a fish will generally act, and then go from there.

2) Appetite. Are they readily accepting food? Eating well? No brainer, here.

3) Color. Not every fish will be amazingly colorful, but every fish has a certain color scheme that they'll fit into when "happy" and healthy. A betta might become a brighter red, a black knife might become a darker black, and a wild-variety fish might start showing some extra color on their scales.

4) Intuition. It's pretty easy to tell when a fish is happy or not when you've been around them for a while. I know that my damsel is perfectly happy in my 5.5, due to everything above being in place, and the fact that he acts just like he should. He never sits still, he always accepts food, he's plenty aggressive, and he interacts with his environment how he should. The day he stops doing these things, I'll know he's unhappy, and that it's time for a change. You get to know your fish, and what's normal for them.
 

Professor Catfish

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When you tend to personify your fish and pay attention to their behavior regularly it's exciting to perceive happy fish! Just like the above posts it goes off typical breed behavior and environment. The quirks of my cory's a and oto's make for happy fish, especially when it's bloodworm/brineshrimp/tubifex treat days.
If you wanted to turn it into a funny philosophical question with a pinch of my cynicism I'd say we're just projecting states onto creatures existing in a closed eco-system primarily for aesthetics and entertainment; with little regard to their wellbeing. Like fish given as prizes to people who have no idea how to keep a fish, freak breeds like bubble eye goldfish and parrot cichlids. Parrot cichlids are bred to look like they have a little smile but their swim bladder is deformed so they look cuter and their evolutionary forced existence is depressing. But they look happy...
 

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Lorekeeper

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Very true that no matter how happy fish are in our tanks, they'd likely be happier in the wild. Even with the threat of being eaten, IMO.

That said, the aquarium industry is booming, and it's not going to die down anytime soon. Better for someone to be informed and make a fish as comfortable as possible in a good tank, rather than the fish rotting away in a store somewhere.

You could say that Earth would be better without us here... but since we ARE here, guess we might as well do the best we can!
 

Lorekeeper

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To accept that a species (other than humans) experience emotions requires the ability to look beyond the egocentric view of existence that humans have.
No one said that other animals don't experience emotion. I know perfectly well that my dogs experience different emotions, that cats do, that reptiles do, and that fish do. However, to say that something with as simple as a brain as a fish experiences the same complexity of emotion as we do is uninformed, at best.

Sure, my fish experience fear. I believe that they experience satisfaction, and I believe that they feel the need to complete some of their natural drives in life. But I don't think my fish swims around his tank and is actively feeling emotions like sadness or happiness.
 

Thunder_o_b

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No one said that other animals don't experience emotion. I know perfectly well that my dogs experience different emotions, that cats do, that reptiles do, and that fish do. However, to say that something with as simple as a brain as a fish experiences the same complexity of emotion as we do is uninformed, at best.

Sure, my fish experience fear. I believe that they experience satisfaction, and I believe that they feel the need to complete some of their natural drives in life. But I don't think my fish swims around his tank and is actively feeling emotions like sadness or happiness.
Why (how) can one emotion be felt yet others not?
 

Lorekeeper

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Why (how) can one emotion be felt yet others not?
Because their brains simply lack the complexity to feel those emotions, just like they probably lack the concept of consciousness in other beings.

The only emotions I think they feel are those that help them survive. If a fish is territorial, then it may feel anger when something else enters it's territory, causing it to attack. After the invader is dealt with, the fish may feel satisfaction, prompting to do the same thing the next time something enters into it's territory.

A fish that eats poor-quality flake food may not be completely satisfied after a meal. Feed the same fish some frozen brine or frozen mysis, and they're likely to be much more satisfied with the meal. I'd say that's probably due to the higher nutrient content of a good frozen meat when compared to flakes.

Again, I don't believe that fish don't experience emotion, and the same goes for most complex organisms.
 

Thunder_o_b

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Because their brains simply lack the complexity to feel those emotions, just like they probably lack the concept of consciousness in other beings.

The only emotions I think they feel are those that help them survive. If a fish is territorial, then it may feel anger when something else enters it's territory, causing it to attack. After the invader is dealt with, the fish may feel satisfaction, prompting to do the same thing the next time something enters into it's territory.

A fish that eats poor-quality flake food may not be completely satisfied after a meal. Feed the same fish some frozen brine or frozen mysis, and they're likely to be much more satisfied with the meal. I'd say that's probably due to the higher nutrient content of a good frozen meat when compared to flakes.

Again, I don't believe that fish don't experience emotion, and the same goes for most complex organisms.
I would be interested in looking deeper at this. The emotion of fear strikes me as being a complex
one. It requires the ability to make a threat assessment. Where anger can be displayed all the time, a constant state of fear would be completely debilitating. It strikes me that fear is a higher cognitive state than anger.
 

DaleM

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I would be interested in looking deeper at this. The emotion of fear strikes me as being a complex
one. It requires the ability to make a threat assessment. Where anger can be displayed all the time, a constant state of fear would be completely debilitating. It strikes me that fear is a higher cognitive state than anger.
Is David Attenborough on this forum? He might be able to shed some light!
 
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